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Tag:John Calipari
Posted on: June 4, 2010 2:23 pm
Edited on: June 4, 2010 11:00 pm
 

Ferry out as Cavs GM (UPDATE)

LOS ANGELES -- In what the team is describing as a "mutual" parting of ways, Danny Ferry is out as general manager and will be replaced by assistant GM Chris Grant.

After five years as GM, Ferry's contract was up and the team announced Friday that he and owner Dan Gilbert agreed not to renew it. The move comes as superstar LeBron James is about to become a free agent, with the prospect of him leaving the Cavs threatening to devastate the city and organization.

Welcome to the hot seat, Chris Grant.

Hired as GM two years after the Cavs drafted LeBron, Ferry spent much of that time establishing a winning culture and doing everything possible to appease James by surrounding him with talent the King regarded as championship caliber. Despite Ferry's efforts -- which included acquiring Mo Williams, Shaquille O'Neal and Antawn Jamison -- the Cavs never achieved the right mix. Williams never developed into the consistent No. 2 scoring threat, especially in the postseason; the O'Neal gamble backfired; and Jamison came up small in his first -- and possibly last -- postseason run with James.

With coach Mike Brown and now Ferry out, the fallout from Cleveland's surprising loss to the Celtics in the conference semifinals has been swift and far-reaching. All Grant has to do now is hire a coach, keep LeBron, and surround him with enough talent to win a championship. It's a pretty tall task; just ask Ferry.

And with the restless Gilbert calling the shots -- and no doubt watching LeBron's hour-long interview on the Larry King Show Friday night for clues as to what he'll decide come July 1 -- the Cavs' situation is in the ultimate state of flux. Speculation immediately focused on whether Gilbert had a power play in mind for a big name to take over as the Cavs' coach and president of basketball operations. The name most often linked to the Cavs, due to his relationship with James, is that of Kentucky coach John Calipari, who recently refuted the notion that he would leave Lexington for a return to the NBA.

With a coaching vacancy and the path cleared for Gilbert to lure a big name to replace Ferry, the Cavs are now on equal footing with other potential suitors for LeBron that also have an opening to hire the coach of his choice. On his CNN interview, which aired Friday night, James reiterated that he does not want to hand-pick his next coach, but made a point of saying that there are several coaches that would intrigue him. James also said he is "far from close" to making a decision.
 
Although Commissioner David Stern said Thursday night that he has been assured "at the highest levels" that there would be no so-called free-agent summit, James said in the interview with King that he does, in fact, plan to discuss his plans with other top free agents -- and that he was interested in learning their plans. According to James, top players getting together to decide where to play -- and with whom -- was an opportunity for them to determine how to "better the league."

 




Posted on: May 24, 2010 2:40 am
Edited on: June 5, 2010 2:16 pm
 

Cavs fire Brown; next up, LeBron (UPDATE)

The unraveling of the Cavaliers’ season came to its inevitable conclusion early Monday with a source confirming to CBSSports.com that coach Mike Brown has been fired.

Back-to-back 60-win seasons couldn’t save Brown from the backlash of another premature playoff ouster after the Cavs, with the best record in the league, were eliminated from the playoffs in six games by the Boston Celtics.

By firing Brown, the 2008-09 NBA coach of the year, by Sunday at midnight, the Cavs avoided his $4.5 million salary for next season becoming fully guaranteed. Since he was let go before the deadline, only half of Brown’s salary is guaranteed.

Brown, a strong defensive coach groomed in the successful Spurs organization, will immediately become a candidate for head coaching openings in New Orleans and Atlanta and perhaps elsewhere.

According to a second source familiar with the Cavs' strategy, Brown's ouster was the first -- and most important -- piece of the puzzle that had to be solved before Cleveland could proceed with its plan to persuade LeBron James to return to the Cavs once the free-agent negotiating period begins July 1. Recent reports have indicated that James recused himself from the decision on Brown, but decision makers in the organization were well aware that he was not pleased with the way the team failed to adjust to its opponent's style of play for the second straight postseason. Last season, it was Orlando foiling the Cavs' simplistic defensive rotations. This time, it was Boston shredding the Cavs' defense with Rajon Rondo's dribble penetration and mismatches on the interior, with Kevin Garnett exposing Antawn Jamison for the entire six-game series.

In a telling dose of doom for Brown after the Cavs' ouster in Game 6 of the conference semis, James was noncommittal about Brown and declined to come to his defense publicly when asked. Despite Brown's regular season success, it was only a matter of time before the playoff losses caught up to him. And in Cleveland, where an entire city is bracing for James' anticipated foray into unrestricted free agency, the regular season doesn't matter. Playoffs and championships do.

So with everyone from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to President Obama urging LeBron to weigh his chances of winning a title in another city, the process of sucking up to James begins anew. What coach would persuade him to stay? Or better yet, what coach and supporting cast would persuade him not to leave?

Despite the Cavs' best efforts to placate him with roster additions that have not worked -- Mo Williams, Shaquille O'Neal, Jamison -- there is a growing belief among those familiar with the situation that James is more open than ever to the possibility that he would be able to find a better supporting cast in Chicago. Several factors independent of the Cavs' playoff collapse have enhanced the Bulls' position. The possibility of playing with Derrick Rose, and the fact that the Bulls have left their coaching job vacant -- with James' buddy, John Calipari, lurking in the wings and with Phil Jackson's contractual situation with the Lakers still unresolved -- have conspired to make the Cavs' job of keeping him even harder.

Step one was firing Brown, whether LeBron was directly involved in the decision or not. The next set of dominoes will begin tumbling almost immediately, with Cleveland engaging in a coaching search and LeBron getting some clarity as to what he'd be returning to if he stayed in Cleveland.

Whether Brown deserved to be fired is hardly the issue. Given the expectations, and what was at stake for James' future, it's hard to argue with the decision. Under those circumstances, you can't bring a team with the best record in the league into the playoffs and lose as thoroughly as the Cavs did and expect to keep your job. All we know for sure, though, is that one shoe has dropped. The big ones -- the franchise-shaping ones -- are coming next.




Posted on: April 27, 2010 6:58 pm
 

Brown has Sixers in limbo

On the first day the Sixers could reach out to Larry Brown to discuss his interest in returning to the organization he led to the 2001 NBA Finals, all was quiet on the Next Town front. The Sixers, according to sources, were busy little worker bees on Tuesday -- making a list of coaching candidates, checking it twice, doing background checks and the like.

But make no mistake. The Sixers' world as we know it is in the hands of Brown, who continues to artfully dodge the notion that he is angling to return to the city where his wife and children live.

After the Bobcats were swept by the defending conference champion Magic, Brown reiterated Monday night, "I'm not coaching anywhere but Charlotte," and,"I'm not coaching anywhere but for Michael Jordan." These statements were part sincere and part lawyerly. Coaching is one thing. Being in charge of the whole shebang is quite another.

So while the Sixers' basketball staff, led by team president Ed Stefanski, is finalizing its list of coaching candidates to reach out to by the end of the week, sources familiar with the situation say no one's quite sure who will actually be hiring the coach. That's because it's understood that Stefanski is conducting the preliminary search with the understanding that he won't be around if Brown, 70, decides to return to his adopted home as the head of basketball operations.

"It all depends on Larry Brown," a person with knowledge of the situation said.

Sixers chairman Ed Snider fought the good fight Tuesday, blasting a report by Yahoo! Sports that detailed Brown's interest, right down to the coach (Atlanta's Mike Woodson) and GM (Wizards front office man Milt Newton) he wanted to bring with him. But Snider never specified which part of the report he was disagreeing with, saying only that the team hadn't reached out to Brown -- which, technically was true.

Of course, in Brown's case, the idea of contact -- who initiates it, and when -- is largely irrelevant. He has become the Bill Parcells of the NBA -- always denying the obvious. Everybody knows where to find Brown when it's time to do business.

In the meantime, the Sixers have formulated a wide-ranging list of former NBA head coaches, current assistants and current college coaches. Once it's pared down, the team is expected to begin contacting candidates for interviews toward the end of the week. The list includes Jeff Van Gundy, Avery Johnson, Sam Mitchell, Mike Fratello and Doug Collins among the former head coaches -- though there's little indication Van Gundy wants to return to the sideline. (Plus, why would any of the above interview for a job that could be decided by somebody else, namely Brown?)

Among the current assistants on the Sixers' list are Tom Thibodeau (Celtics), Dwane Casey (Dallas), Mike Budenholzer (Spurs), Monty Williams (Spurs), and Elston Turner (Rockets). The college coaches that have been discussed internally include all the usual suspects: Tom Izzo (Michigan State), John Calipari (Kentucky), Jay Wright (Villanova) and Rick Barnes (Texas).

But it really only comes down to one name if you're the Sixers. What can Brown do for you?



 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com